Are you planning for next year? Usually at the start of a new year, I get overwhelmed. It is then when I start to do planning and think about the year ahead. Would it not have been better to start early? So this year I am doing my annual planning in December – and I invite you to join me. But before we start planning, we need to take five steps to prepare to plan. In this podcast I cover five basic steps you can take to help you be successful in planning for next year.
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Thought for the Week
First, before we get to planning, I want to share a thought related to planning.
For those of us who are Christian’s, are we supposed to be content where we work even if we hate it or find it meaningless? Are we called to minister there even though we feel called elsewhere? I quickly explore this question on the podcast. But to be short, I think for most of us, this becoming content thinking is a cop-out keeping us from stepping out of our comfort zone. See the post on Bold Like Peter and then look to planning for next year.
Five Steps to Prepare | Planning for Next Year
While it might seem crazy to plan to plan, I have often found my planning efforts are derailed because I tried to fit them into a few minutes here or there. Over the last few months I have been involved with several strategic planning efforts, and I have learned by watching a few things that the pros do. So I plan to use their pre-planning steps to help me prepare for my time where I do planning for next year.
- Set aside time to plan – The first thing we need to do is plan some time for planning. Get on your calendar and find some days you can free up for planning. I have 4 days on my calendar. This may be overkill, but better to end up done early with free time than to not have enough time to get it done.
- Find a place to plan – Find a place that is away from distractions. Consider coffee shops, home office, your office when people are on vacation, libraries, or any other place you can get away from the things going on.
- Gather resources to plan – Gather the tools you like to use to plan. Consider the following list:
- Paper and pens
- White board
- Sticky notes (or planning kits using stick notes or annual planners)
- Calendars for the next year
- Internet lockout software (Anti-Social for the MAC or Freedom for Windows)
- Mindmapping tools
- Make a list of projects – According to David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology, a project is anything that takes more than one step to do. So start now and make a list of everything you need to do for next year. Add to this list as you think about them. I use Evernote (and the great Evernote tool Evernote Essentials) for keeping up with this list. My note is called “2014 Planning Notes.” If Evernote is not your tool, use paper, MS Word, sticky notes, etc. Just capture the projects in one place.
- Find your favorite planning process – Now, before you start, is the best time to decide which planning process you would like to use. I would suggest you keep it simple with something you are comfortable doing. I personally am a big fan of these:
- David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology as described in the book Getting Things Done.
- Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy. A simple book focused on getting results without the fluff.
- Zig Ziglar – One of my favorites because he is entertaining. The video below takes you through his simple 7 step process of setting goals. If nothing else it is entertaining!
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Question: When will you be planning for next year? Any other tools I did not mention that you like? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.